Women On Adventure is a blog by K.L. Webber exploring our rich shared history of women's adventure writing. This curated collection of quotations showcases the opinions and experiences of influential female travellers in their own words.

"The first sight of Palmyra is like a regiment of cavalry..."

The first sight of Palmyra is like a regiment of cavalry drawn up in a single line; but as we got nearer gradually the ruins began to stand out one by one in the sunlight, and a grander sight I have never looked upon, so gigantic, so extensive, so desolate was this splendid city of the dead rising out of, and half buried in, a sea of sand. One felt as if one were wandering in some forgotten world. [...]

So many travellers have described Palmyra that it is not necessary for me to describe it again, and I suppose that everybody knows that at one time it was ruled over in the days of its splendour by Zenobia, a great queen of the East. She was an extraordinary woman, full of wisdom and heroic courage. She was conquered by the Romans after a splendid reign, and the Emperor Aurelian caused her to be led through Rome bound in fetters of gold. The city must once have been magnificent, but it was now a ruin. The chief temple was that of the Sun. The whole city was full of columns and ruined colonnades. One of the great colonnades is a mile long. […] I wish we had taken ropes and ladders, planks to bridge over broken staircases, and a crowbar. We might then have thoroughly examined three places which we could not otherwise do: the Palace of the Pretty, the Palace of the Maiden, and the Palace of the Bride, the three best Tower Tombs.


Lady Isabel Burton

Palmyra, Syria, 1870


Source: Lady Isabel Burton & W.H. Wilkins, The Romance of Isabel Lady Burton, New York: Dodd Mead & Co., 1904, (first pub. 1897)

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WOA Image: Broughton Island, Australia

WOA Image: Broughton Island, Australia

WOA Image: "The love of adventure must be contagious."

WOA Image: "The love of adventure must be contagious."